LEADERSHIP DOWN: Disordered president reaches a milestone!


As does Morning Joe:
This morning, the Washington Post's official fact-checker announced that Donald J. Trump has reached an auspicious milestone.

The fact-checker in question is Glenn Kessler. His rise to prominence started right here, during Campaign 2000, when we announced that he was the answer to a widely-voiced question of that era, namely "Who Da Man?"

In response to something he'd written, we announced that Kessler was "Da Man." Today, he announces Trump's achievement in a cool, clear, nuanced manner, one which respects the wisdom of the ages and the somewhat limited reach of the human mind.

Hard-copy banner headline included, this is the way he and two colleagues begin:
KESSLER, RIZZO AND KELLY (4/30/2019): Fallacy in five figures: Trump blusters past 10,000 false or misleading claims

It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims
in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day.

But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark—an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election.
According to the Post's admittedly subjective census, Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims since becoming president.

Some of these "faulty claims" (we're quoting the Post again) have been genuine dillies. This well-known fact becomes even more clear as today's report proceeds.

Indeed, Trump has made so many false and misleading claims that Kessler can no longer handle the fact-checking all by himself. Trump has issued so many howlers that it now takes a trio of Post reporters to tote his groaners up!

As far as we know, Trump is the most disordered person who has ever served in the Oval Office. Since early 2016, we've been saying that his disordered statements and weird behavior raise obvious questions of possible mental illness.

That said, leadership cadres within the mainstream press decreed that this obvious possibility mustn't be discussed. We're inclined to list that judgment under an award-wining rubric:

"Leadership Down."

(According to the so-called "Goldwater rule," journalists have long agreed that they shouldn't introduce discussions of psychiatry or mental illness into the political discourse. This is a truly outstanding rule—until such time as a sitting president seems to be some version of mentally ill!)

In our view, the current sitting president seems severely disordered. Then again, we have the various leadership groups which shape the public discussion about this dangerous fact.

Let's forget about Donald J. Trump for one minute! How well do those leadership cadres function? Consider what happened in the first segment of today's Morning Joe.

As was required by Hard Cable Law, Joe and Mika, with Willie's assistance, began their day with reference to the Washington Post's new report. One minute into this guaranteed foolishness, Joe and Willie Geist-Haskell Junior engaged in a mandated sleight of hand.

To enjoy the fun, click here. Here's how the sleight-of-hand started:
JOE (4/30/19): While we were sleeping, Willie, President Trump has now made more than 10,000 lies—more than 10,000 false or misleading claims. The only question is, Willie, what does he become now? Impeached, or autocrat-for-life?

HASKELL-GEIST: Well, 10,000 lies, according to the Washington Post, which has been keeping track since the beginning of his presidency, it's a pretty astounding number, one hard to wrap your head around.

I don't know what that grants him, other than the presidency, I guess, right? Ten thousand lies got him into the White House, and perhaps they'll keep him there. But perhaps not, given what we've seen from Joe Biden in the polls the last couple of days.
As seen in Haskell Junior's statement, the gang has been fawning over Candidate Biden in the past few days, much as they once fawned over Governor Christie, then over Candidate Trump.

By way of background, Morning Joe is one of the many "cable news" shows where Everyone Says The Exact Same Thing The Host or Hosts Just Said. This morning, everyone was saying that the Washington Post had reported that President Trump has now emitted ten thousand "lies."

Instantly, John Heilemann joined the prepackaged fun. "You'd sort of think that maybe, after 10,000 lies, he'd get really good at it?" the journalist-turned-open mike comic now said. "Like maybe that would be the thing, he'd be the best liar of all time?"

At this point, the children all agreed that Trump is a terrible liar. Whatever you want to call his misstatements, that may or may not be the case, depending on one's assessment of what Trump's objectives are.

At any rate, we were struck by this rollicking crew's instant reinvention of what the Washington Post had said. In fact, the terms "lie" and "liar" never appear in this morning's report in the Post.

The Post says it has counted Trump's "false and misleading claims," then leaves the language right there. And as everyone has known for thousands of years, most false statements aren't actually "lies." Meanwhile, the bulk of misleading statements don't even rise to the level of being "false!"

So the people of the earth have known for thousands of years! Our human languages have developed to observe these basic distinctions, which were part of our human inheritance until Mika and Joe came along.

Joe and Junior moved quickly today to "improve" what the Post had said. That said, does it actually matter that our leadership cadres routinely behave in such ways? Does it matter when corporate millionaires cast off the distinctions and points of nuance which have been created and observed down through the ages?

It only matters if accuracy matters. It only matters if human life matters. It only matters if intelligence matters. It only matters if you'd prefer to live within a culture where "rational" conduct prevails.

Are Donald J. Trump's false statements "lies?" Putting that a different way, how many of his endless misstatements might this disordered man believe?

Is it possible that the commander in chief is so disordered that he believes the bulk of his twaddle? We don't have to worry our pretty heads about that when we watch the silly, semi-Trumpian morning program known as Morning Joe, where the story line is kept so simple that even we liberals can grasp it.

All across this morning's major mainstream newspapers, we saw other manifestations of this wide-ranging intellectual disorder. Donald J. Trump is the worst of all time, but our corporate leadership cadres aren't necessarily all that far behind.

Indeed, many of the individuals in those cadres were rather clear versions of "Trump-before-Trump" not that long ago. Most liberals have never heard anyone say that because such discussions aren't allowed, and Everyone On Morning Joe Is Fully Aware of That Fact.

Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM), a disconsolate group of future scholars, has already endorsed our reports of the next few weeks. Those reports will examine the mental traits and public behaviors of our various leadership cadres, not those of Trump himself.

These reports may eventually lead to Professor Horwich's discussion of the shunning of the later Wittgenstein's work. That later work explored the way rational conduct has long tended to break down even on the western world's highest academic platforms.

Down here on the darkling plain, many of us liberals want to hear about the anthropology of Donald J. Trump, and of course of The Others as well. Given our basic human traits, we're inclined to leave our anthropological explorations right there.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll look instead at the anthropology of our own tribe's struggling thought leaders. Our reports will run under a series of award-winning rubrics, starting with "Leadership Down."

For today, let's tip our hat to the Washington Post! Inevitably, its census of "false and misleading claims" is a bit subjective. But the Post has insisted on discussing those many "faulty claims" by Trump without pretending to chronicle which of the groaners are "lies."

At Morning Joe, predictable fun held sway. For perhaps the ten thousandth time, the carefully selected panel agreed to let The More Stupid prevail.

Everybody Said The Same Thing as they dumbed the Post's report down. It's the way they previously played it, first in pimping the straight-shooting Christie, and after that in dumbly pimping their old pal Herr Trump himself.

This is the way these cadres play. Through a series of nocturnal submissions the hater like to refer to as "dreams," we've been instructed to talk about this as a form of Leadership Down.

Tomorrow: Comic relief! Recent adventures of cable TV's second most popular star!


  1. Somerby works extra hard this morning to convince us that Trump doesn't actually tell lies. With "liberals" like this, who needs conservatives?

    Trump is a huge liar and many people have debunked his lies. It doesn't matter whether Trump knows he is lying or whether he has no relationship with reality because he is mentally ill. These are lies because they are factually untrue, self-serving, repeated despite debunking, inconsistent with the behavior expected of a public official, especially the President. No one on Earth should be pretending these are just innocent mistakes.

    Then Somerby pretends that Mika and Joe are Democratic leadership. They aren't.

    What is Somerby's motive for this? Obviously, he is trying to help out conservatives, but why call himself a liberal and do that? Can it be that Somerby too is a liar?

  2. "This morning, the Washington Post's official fact-checker announced that Donald J. Trump has reached an auspicious milestone."

    Poor Bob. With reading so much of the goebbelsian establishment media as you do -- total insanity can't be far away.

    I only skim the quotes you provide, and frankly already I feel a bit 'disordered'... Poor Bob...

  3. "Everybody Said The Same Thing as they dumbed the Post's report down. It's the way they previously played it, first in pimping the straight-shooting Christie, and after that in dumbly pimping their old pal Herr Trump himself."

    Remember the prophetic film Idiocracy? It has always been true that the masses respond to simple language and ideas, what Somerby calls "dumbing down". They want the bottom line, easy to understand ideas, simple memes. Trump gives his supporters exactly that -- perhaps because it is the way he really thinks and talks. Anyone using big words and talking about complexities or credentials will be called elite, which is a bad thing in America (see Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in America). All politicians, news commentators, cable hosts (except Masha Geffen) dumb things down, even Jeopardy is dumbed down to the level of the audience, not the competitors.

    So, is it something bad when professional communicators do what is necessary in order to communicate? Somerby thinks it is, but only when liberals do it. He even chastises Paul Krugman, who he hasn't called MVP in a long time now.

    There is a measurement called the fog index that compares the length of sentences with the number of syllables in words used to determine how comprehensible someone will be. Politicians and cable hosts take that stuff seriously because it is their job to reach and hold the attention of voters and audiences. Trump does this by swearing, saying shocking things, invoking violence against handy targets (such as the media, Somerby's favorite stalking horse), and audience participation in chants. But cable hosts show a lack of leadership when they behave similarly? Their job is actually entertainment. Trump's is to govern, something he ignores and distorts into an unrecognizable form of incompetence.

    But the question is "why is Somerby so clueless?" Actually Somerby is very creative about finding new ways to say bad things about liberals and the liberal press. He couldn't be a better Trump minion and agent of evil if he were being paid to do it. Perhaps he is being paid. I'd ask him but he would probably lie about it.

  4. Research on intelligence has found that the difference in IQ between a group and a viable, electable leader is 15 pts (100 is mean, 15 pts is one standard deviation). So those who want to lead America, which presumably has a national mean of 100, need to pretend to have IQs of 115 (130 is needed to be a doctor, lawyer, 145 to be a physicist, 180 is Sheldon Cooper territory on tests such as the Stanford-Binet). Both Clintons were super smart, so how much did they have to pretend to be acceptable? Hillary had more trouble with this because the stereotype of women doesn't include being super smart, so she wound up being unlikeable, calculating, hiding something, scheming, etc. To some extent, being electable means being a good enough actor to connect with the average person without actually being stupid (Trump's solution to the problem).

    The most reliable indicator of intelligence is language. When I want to find a candidate who is up to the job, I look for those big words in their spontaneous remarks (they will have been edited out of scripted speeches). I look for their grasp of complexity and plans to address the complex issues, not the obvious ones.

    Somerby is attacking the wrong things for the wrong reasons. He is so obsessed with Wittgenstein's take-down of philosophy that he doesn't think about what else language is good for. He blames Mika and Joe when he should be talking about anthropology (by which he means social psychology), because this is what people are like and how democratic societies work. In many other countries, they dispense with this entirely and just install dictators and kings. I doubt they bother to dumb down anything.

    1. Deplorable = 4 syllables
      Lock her up = 3 one-syllable words, 3-word sentence
      Build the wall = 3 one-syllable words, 3-word sentence
      Stronger together = 2 syllables + 3-syllables

      This is why stupid people said they didn't relate to Hillary.

    2. Whoa, a dembot and IQ fetishist! De-licious!

      Tell us more, please. I want to know everything about well-meaning intellectual elite and the ungrateful deplorables who don't appreciate it.

    3. Someone respond to Mao's request, please. Mao knowing something about anything would be a refreshing change. It won't cure his online Tourette's syndrome, but if the fact doesn't die of loneliness in Mao's brain, it might be something to build on.

    4. I'm With Her = three syllables
      Muh Abortion = 1 1/2 syllables
      RACIST = two especially dumb syllables

    5. Racist = 2 syllables
      Sexist = 2 syllables
      Homophobe = 3 syllables
      Xenophobe= 3 syllables
      Islamophobe = 4 syllables
      Basket of Deplorables = 7 syllables

      21 Syllables = 0 presidencies and 65 million irreversible mental health catastrophes

  5. It seems reasonable to assume that making disordered claims shows that one is a disordered person. However, that's not the case with Trump. The proof is that he hasn't made so many disordered actions.

  6. My thought leaders put these things in my head, so it’s causing a bit of a short circuit when Somerby says they never talk about it:

    Lawrence O’Donnell:

    Psychiatrist on Trump: "The president deserves medical standard of care, and he is not getting it"

    And yes, good ol’ Morning Joe:

    Scarborough Calls for 25th Amendment: Trump’s Presser Show’s He’s ‘Obviously’ Not Fit for Office

    Someone also needs to tell us if Bandy Lee and the contributors to her best-selling book (“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”) are our thought leaders or not.

  7. Many personality disorders list “compulsive lying” as a symptom.

    Somerby needs to quit trying to be an armchair psychiatrist.

    1. ... and Somerby really ought to be able to differentiate “personality disorders” vs. “psychoses” and “delusional disorders” — as only the latter two sets qualify for “insanity”.  The “personality disorder” sometimes called “sociopathy” never has, or else serial killers like Ted Bundy would have been entitled to NGRI verdicts (they weren’t).  Trump’s entire [amoral] career can be explained by sociopathy; why should his presidential behavior come as any surprise?

  8. Blow jobs in the Oval Office indicate insanity. Trump doesn't even come close to that level of crazy.

  9. Every Democrat politician and media personality screeched every hour of every day for two years that the Mueller report would find Trump broke the law and colluded with Russia.

    Add up those lies and evaluate that level of complete delusion, Bob.

    1. Good point, anon.

      First, they had a spontaneous head explosion on 11/9/2016, when the result of the presidential election was announced.

      And then, on the day when esteemed Dr. Barr announced that the zombie coup has failed (what's the date? it should be remembered) - they had the second head explosion.

      Ooh la la, that must've hurt!

    2. Painful, but fortunately when the contents are limited to air and the segment of the brain that produces the word RACIST, it's a speedier recovery.

    3. "esteemed Dr. Barr"

      What is this "gaslighting" you speak of?

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